From his experience in Texas as a judge, trial lawyer and supervisor of an 800-lawyer public agency, Kent C. Sullivan (Col ’78, Law ’82) knows the value of plain language in court cases.

Sullivan, who has served as a justice for the Texas Court of Appeals in Houston, First Assistant Attorney General and a district judge, has been instrumental in working on the state’s Pattern Jury Charge Committee, a group responsible for formulating standardized jury instructions and questions for use in trials throughout the state.

“There is no bigger nightmare, in my view, than finding out that you’re instructing people about a particular area of the law and asking them to answer questions that they don’t understand,” Sullivan says. “They are making very important decisions that affect the lives of people—sometimes even the rise and fall of corporations—and they don’t know effectively what they are doing.”

Earlier this year Sullivan and others on the committee were awarded a ClearMark award from the Center for Plain Language in Washington, D.C.

Last November, Sullivan joined the Houston-based firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan as a partner in the Litigation Practice Group.